PetroSA working to improve black empowerment

Sep 24, 2005 02:00 AM

by Frank Nxumalo

The capital-intensive upstream or exploration and production side of the oil and gas industry in South Africa was still predominantly white and closed to historically disadvantaged individuals, the Petroleum Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA) said.
PetroSA, which has been appointed to host the 18th World Petroleum Congress in September 2005, said it was working towards improving the situation.

"This part of the industry tends to lock out new players. There is a stiff barrier to entry. In particular, participation by black economic empowerment [BEE] companies is still very minuscule," said Imogen Mkhize, a senior executive at PetroSA who has also been appointed the chief executive of the 18th congress.
"At the forthcoming [congress], South Africa needs to highlight the opportunities and challenges within upstream oil and gas activities."Mkhize said research papers on changes in upstream, especially new trends on finding, exploring and processing oil and gas, will also be presented at the global congress.
She said another cause of concern here was the severe shortage of hard skills among black people involved in upstream activities. But black firms and individuals had managed to break into the retail or downstream petroleum and gas industries, she said.

"There is growing BEE participation in downstream activities compared with the past when most oil companies did not have black participants.”
"This area is becoming more and more inclusive but we are not there yet," Mkhize said.

Source: Associated Press
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